Great BU Bikes press in today’s Daily Free Press by Mia Greenberg: http://www.dailyfreepress.com/weeklies/cycle-of-life-1.2347461
“The bike culture at Boston University is as diverse as Boston itself. On Commonwealth Avenue one can see professors, competitive bikers, committed students and newbies all riding, or wobbling, down the sidewalk. What do they have in common? Even though many have suffered occasional bumps and $20 traffic tickets, they will recommend throwing away your Charlie Card and picking up a bike.
Biking policies have recently been the focus of local headlines, covering the expansion of bike lanes in July and stricter bike traffic enforcement this fall. Despite some negative changes, such as the 100 percent increase in bicycle thefts as reported by The Daily Free Press last week, old and new bikers continue to take to the streets.
For many bikers, convenience is the biggest reason to face the hazards the roads present. Even in the Back Bay, where the Green Line slices through almost every other block, people say they would rather have the freedom to transport themselves from one place to another.
“With a bike, you can leave when you choose and you don’t have to deal with public transportation,” Sarah Kahlifa, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. However, as a new rider Kahlifa admits she sometimes would prefer riding on the sidewalk instead of on the street.
Because BU is not a closed campus, bikers battle students on foot and automobiles on the road. They even have to be aware of parked cars. One German exchange student, who preferred not to be named, remarked that he was hit with a car door while riding his bike.
“The bikes lanes are much safer in Germany,” he said.
Still, many who chose to ride say biking offers an experience that outweighs the dangers.
“I feel like a lot of kids at BU just stay on campus and there is so much more out there. Boston is a vibrant city and biking definitely helped me figure out where places were and helped me make friends,” said Noel Poindexter, a sophomore in CAS and the Vice President of BU Bikes.
BU Bikes aims to provide students with the resources to gain confidence, safety knowledge and an overall fun experience biking around Boston.
IS THIS WHEEL LIFE?
Another outlet for people interested in taking up biking sits at the corner of St. Paul Street and Comm. Ave. Landry’s Bicycles, founded in 1922, provides safety and recreational services to all kinds of bikers. The customers that have kept the shop in business all these years range from the average student to the professional biker.
The store is also home to Landry’s Cycling Club, which is free to customers and provides participants with the chance to explore Boston on group rides, access to discounts on jerseys and special events throughout the year.
If bikers are looking for even more dedication, Landry’s offers membership to a triathlon club.
Ironically, the store sits at a location where bikes and traffic are often entangled in dangerous close calls, like many other intersections on Comm. Ave. Brian Crosby, who works at Landry’s and is a bicyclist himself, says he has seen accidents in that intersection on more than one occasion.
Crosby, who has been riding a bike in the city for five years, said he rarely uses his car or takes the T.
“I pass two trains on the way home. It’s always fun to try to race them,” he said.
Crosby gave a few safety tips on navigating Boston’s mean streets.
“Keeping your head up and being aware of your surroundings are very important. You never know when a car is going to turn left or right,” he said.
While he would never recommend wearing headphones while biking in the city, he says if you choose to don them, to make sure one earbud is out.
“It’s the cars that are in control of the situation,
not the bikers,” he said.
BIKE FOR YOUR RIGHT
Recently, the Boston Police Department highlighted safety concerns by handing out about 75 tickets to cyclists running red lights near the BU Bridge.
The reaction from bikers varied. Some, like Erik Olson, a senior in CAS, said they thought it was confusing because pedestrians were not ticketed when they were essentially doing the same thing in the same direction.
Others wished bike safety would be promoted in a different way.
“It just gets people angry. I think that a more safety campaign approach would explain why the rules exist,” Crosby said.
“I would like to see bikes and cars coexisting on the road-meaning bikers respect the laws of the road as much as cars do. If bikers recognize the laws then I think cars will recognize bikes as more of an equal and this will prevent less biking accidents,” Poindexter said.
For dedicated bikers, finding ways to make cycling safer is very important. However, some students believe dedicating time to improving the cycling conditions to enhance the fun and convenience of biking is not quite worth it.
CAS junior Anthony Cirino tried biking and decided the effort was not worth the hassle.
“Yeah, you get to class a little earlier but then you have to find a place to lock it and stuff,” he said.
CAS senior Jon Abreu, who admitted to having fallen off his bike in the street many times, said, “You know, you would think it’s like lightning striking twice, you think it won’t happen to you again. Then it does. But still, you get back on because there’s just something fun and freeing about it or something.”"